Race quotas will return to South African rugby next season in a bid to produce more top-level black players, the national body announced Wednesday.
A South African Rugby Union (SARU) statement said seven players in each 22-man Vodacom Cup squad must be black, including at least two forwards.
And at least five of the black players must be in the starting line-up with the others on the bench.
The Vodacom Cup is a national second-tier provincial competition played at the same time as the leading five South African sides compete for the Super 15 title.
There has been government, media and public concern for some time about the small number of black players in Super Rugby and for the national team.
Rugby was considered a “white sport” in Apartheid South Africa but there has been a growing number of black players in recent years, although football remains more popular with the majority of the population.
It has been particularly embarrassing for South African rugby officials when European opponents like England and France contain more black players in Test line-ups.